(CTN News) – Despite Montana’s ban on TikTok on Tuesday, CEO Shou Zi Chew is confident the company will prevail in its lawsuit against the state.
Despite Montana’s decision to ban TikTok from operating in the state, the Chinese company filed a lawsuit on Monday. It argues that the ban, which will take effect on January 1 next year, violates its First Amendment rights.
Chew was speaking just hours after TikTok filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming Montana’s ban violated the first amendment.
“We believe the Montana bill passed recently is unconstitutional,” Chew said.
Currently, we have filed a lawsuit, and we have confidence that we will prevail,” he said.
According to Chew, TikTok could have a “positive impact” on users, citing an autism user who shares music through the app.
This gives me a lot of confidence that we will be able to have very thoughtful conversations with regulators around the world,” Chew said. The two of us are here to stay, and I’m confident of that.”
Despite having more than a billion active users globally, including about 150 million in the U.S., Chew asserted that TikTok had taken steps to protect U.S. users’ data by storing it “on American soil by an American company and overseen by an American.”
According to him, we’ve taken steps that are above and beyond what our industry has done to protect the safety of U.S. citizens.
Additionally, Chew stated that the Chinese government has never requested the data of U.S. users, and his company will not provide it if asked.
Oracle’s cloud service already stores all U.S. data by default, he said.
In recent years, we have built something internally called ‘Project Texas,’ which ensures that American data is stored on American soil by an American company under American oversight.”
Outcry over Montana’s ban across the country
Earlier this month, Montana’s Republican-led House passed a law banning TikTok in the state, making it the first state in the country to do so.
Across the country, opposition to the move has been triggered arguing that it violates citizens’ rights to free expression and information access.
Both lawsuits filed against Montana claim Montana is trying to exercise national security powers that only the federal government can exercise.
“They care because TikTok is very important to them,” Chew explained.
Chew was grilled in March by a congressional committee about whether the Chinese government had access to user data or could influence what Americans saw on the app. Congress has not yet taken action to ban TikTok nationwide or give the Biden administration new powers to crack down on the app.
TikTok could be fined $10,000 for each violation of the ban, with additional fines of $10,000 per day. Individual TikTok users are not subject to penalties under the law. A ban on TikTok in Montana is not clear.